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Archive for December, 2009

Capitalism 101

Been reading Les Leopold’s recent book “The looting of America” in which the author beautifully lays out how a deregulated capitalist financial system inevitably leads to boom-and-bust cycles. The book provides great historical perspective and is recommended for everyone interested in the workings of financial markets.

In the...Continue Reading »

Politics and Society JJG 15 Dec 2009 11:01 No Comments

Jeffrey Sachs on Afghanistan

Short and sweet excerpt from his excellent column on the Huff-Post:

“The truth is that our government is geared to expanded war while disdaining or utterly neglecting the opportunities through non-military approaches. Those are viewed as soft, na├»ve, and “for them,” while war is viewed as hardheaded and “for us.” The tragedy is that war is breaking our economy and society, while attention to economic development and poverty reduction...Continue Reading »

Politics and Society JJG 14 Dec 2009 11:28 No Comments

On the Afghan Surge, one last time, I swear.

Am pretty unhappy about our (the U.S. ) open-ended military engagement in Afghanistan. Predict it’s going to be a boondoggle that will sink many domestic investment projects simply because there won’t be any money left over. Obama’s ridiculous statement that U.S. troops will start withdrawing from that country in Summer of 2011 is insincere, at best. During lunch break today I found this succinct analysis by Tom...Continue Reading »

Politics and Society JJG 10 Dec 2009 12:52 No Comments

Predictions are hard, especially about the future…Niels Bohr got that one right,

but in science we have a way of deciding whose theory about the world around us is closer to the truth: It’s called the Scientific Method whose hallmark is the comparison of predictions to the actually observed results. So if you have a World View that consistently predicts events that conflict with actually observed facts on the ground you need to discard or modify that World View. Thus if, for example, you predict that you can overthrow the government of a nation militarily, that you will in fact be welcomed...Continue Reading »

Politics and Society JJG 04 Dec 2009 13:14 No Comments

What to do in Afghanistan?

Conflict resolution starts with an understanding of what motivates both parties. According to President Obama, the U.S. motivation in Afghanistan is “National Security”. He closed his address on 1 December 2009 at West Point with this:

…So, no, I do not make this decision lightly. I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan…President Obama, 1 December 2009 at West Point.

During his speech the President conflated Al Qaeda (of which there are less than 100 in Afghanistan at...Continue Reading »

Politics and Society JJG 04 Dec 2009 09:12 No Comments